This past week I was in Cape Town where I was invited to join other entrepreneurs watch a few hand selected startups pitch their business ideas. The startups varied from post revenue all the way to MVP (minimal viable product), meaning they don’t currently have customers, however they do have a working product. As a group of entrepreneurs who have travelled the path, got the proverbial t-shirt and faced our fair share of challenges, a few things really struck me. The reason why we were there was to identify the best matching mentors for each startup. And isn’t this something that is seriously lacking in our startup community - the power and importance of having a great mentor on your team, who can take their life experiences and help you on your journey.
I have business coaches and mentors, and I cannot describe the value that these relationships have brought to my life and my entrepreneurial journey. Something that may seem so insignificant and not on our must-have list, is actually something that you cannot place a value on.
With having the right mentor and business coach on your side you automatically have a team rooting for you, someone experienced who you can bounce ideas off, ask advice and so much more.
The startups we met this week are from the Winter School program. I was privileged enough to work with the Summer School startups earlier this year and I witnessed at first-hand how they grew and pivoted just by being coachable.
They were willing to listen to sound advice and tips, take the information and make it their own. One particular startup had a great business idea and thanks to the invaluable input from the program and mentors, they were able to pivot their business and show profits already from week 2 as opposed to their previous 6 months after signing up a client.
This just goes to show – we may think we know everything and think we know what is best for the business. Yet, all that was needed was an outside viewpoint and a 2-degree angle change to make their business that much better.
Even the mentors learn from the startups and this is a continuous thing, as long as you are open to learning and developing, no matter where you are in your entrepreneurial journey you can make a positive impact on someone else’s life.
Karen Wessels is the co-founder and COO of VA Connect, a South African virtual assistant platform that provides outsourced administrative support; and is also the co-founder of SnappSales, a company that generates quality sales leads for its clients. Prior to establishing both her companies, Karen spent over 10 years in different sales, marketing & admin support roles. This experience has equipped her with the invaluable skills required to run her two successful business ventures. Follow Karen on her Personal Website | Twitter | Facebook | Google+
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